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Published: Jul 31, 2012

Many owners pay close attention to what goes into their pet's mouth, but don't pay much mind to the health of this area. Dental disease in dogs is one of the most common health problems in pets, and is one many owners either don't know about or don't take seriously enough, reports.

Dr. Fretorry Rogers, a veterinarian in San Antonio, told the news outlet that by the time pets reach the age of 3 or 4, about 70 to 80 percent of them start having problems with their teeth. Dental problems are worse than bad breath, too. According to VCA Animal Hospitals, few pets show obvious signs of dental disease - it is up to the pet's family and their veterinarian to discover and treat it.

Dental disease can cause pain in dogs because it can lead to inflammation and infection of the gums, and periodontal disease can cause tooth loss. When infection reaches under the gumline, it can affect the dog's heart and other internal organs, the news outlet reports.

Owners can prevent dental disease by having routine dental cleanings with their veterinarian, brushing their dog's teeth daily with pet toothpaste, and adding certain products to their water to clean their teeth. Rawhide chews, rubber chew toys and rope toys can also help remove plaque from dogs' teeth, according to the news source.